The older we get the more aware we should be of dementia and the things we can be doing to prevent it. It’s no longer an accepted notion that dementia is just a natural part of aging, as researchers and experts have long disproven that once widely accepted theory. While we still don’t know what exactly causes dementia, we do know that there are things we can do to lower the odds of us developing it. Here are some ways that you can naturally prevent dementia.
How To Prevent Dementia Naturally
Getting older is the number one risk factor when it comes to dementia and unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to prevent that. However, recent research has led experts to believe that there are steps you can take to lower the odds of developing dementia. Many of these steps simply require the implementation of a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the things you can do to reduce your risk of dementia:
- Physical activities - Some of the most effective activities to prevent dementia are aerobic activities. You should try to get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity every week or 76 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. It’s important to know that you shouldn’t overwork yourself
- A healthy diet - Eating healthy provides a numerous amount of benefits, one of those benefits is a reduced risk of dementia. We will go further into detail about the impact nutrition has on the fight to prevent dementia later in the article
- Avoid smoking - Those who regularly smoke are at a much higher risk of dementia than those who do not smoke. Smoking harms the blood vessels in the brain, which can lead to dementia as well as other neurological disorders
- Drink less alcohol - Drinking too much alcohol can place you at risk of developing alcohol-related brain damage. This damage can speed up the development of dementia. Drinking moderately does provide health benefits, just be sure to not overdo it
- Keep your brain active - Consistently challenging yourself mentally can build up the brain’s ability to fight off disease. Think of your brain as a muscle, one that you need to work out in order to get the most out of it. Learning a new language, picking up a new instrument, completing puzzles, and writing can all challenge the brain
Implementing these lifestyle changes won’t make you invincible, but it will greatly reduce your risk of developing dementia. These healthy lifestyle choices can also help prevent other conditions such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and stroke.
Can Dementia Be Prevented?
As we mentioned already, there is no definitive way to prevent dementia, as researchers are still trying to figure out how the disease develops. We have already mentioned lifestyle choices you can make to lower your odds. However, there are risk factors that are impossible to change. Here are some of those factors:
- Age - The older you get the more likely you are to develop a form of dementia
- Genes - Researchers believe that genes alone are not thought to cause dementia, however, certain genetic factors can play a role
- Lower levels of education
Other factors such as hearing loss, untreated depression, loneliness, and a sediment lifestyle all play a big part.
Can You Prevent Dementia Through Nutrition?
In Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation and insulin resistance injure neurons and inhibit communication between brain cells. Recent research suggests that there is a strong link between the way that we eat and our chances of developing dementia. Implementing a healthy diet can help reduce inflammation and protect your brain. Here is what’s part of a dementia prevention diet:
- Low sugars - Refined sugars and carbs can lead to spikes in blood sugar which can inflame your brain
- Omega-3 fats - Healthy fats can help prevent dementia by reducing beta-amyloid plaques. You can get these fats in salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, seaweed, and sardines
- Fruit and vegetables - We all know that fruits and vegetables should be an integral part of our diets. Eating across the color spectrum can help maximize protective antioxidants and vitamins
- Don’t eat out - By cooking at home you can ensure that you’re eating fresh, wholesome meals
- Drink in moderation - As we mentioned earlier, drinking heavily can increase your chances of developing dementia. However, there appear to be benefits in consuming red wine in moderation
This isn’t to say that you can never enjoy junk food or an unhealthy meal ever again. But try to cut down your consumption of these meals. Instead of eating them once every other day, aim for once a week or even once a month.
What Is The Main Cause of Dementia?
While research has come a long way in recent years there is still plenty about dementia that we don’t know. Mainly, we are still unsure as to how exactly dementia forms and whether or not it’s avoidable. What researchers do know (1) is that dementia is caused by damage to or loss of nerve cells and their connections in the brain.
Each person will be affected by dementia differently as it will affect different areas of the brain and there will be varying levels of damage. Here are some risk factors that can contribute to dementia:
- Age - The older you get the more at risk you are of dementia.
- Family history - If your family has a history of dementia you are at a greater risk.
- Down syndrome - Many people with Down syndrome develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
- Diet and exercise - A lack of exercise increases the chance of dementia as does an unhealthy diet.
- Heavy alcohol consumption - Researchers believe that moderate drinking can actually decrease your chances of dementia, however, heavy drinking greatly raises your chances.
- Cardiovascular risk factors - High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and buildup of fats can increase your chances of dementia.
- Depression - It’s not quite understood the exact role depression plays on dementia but experts agree that there is a link.
- Smoking - Smoking can increase your chances of developing dementia and vascular diseases.
By implementing a healthy lifestyle you can greatly lower your chances of getting dementia. The benefits of a healthy lifestyle extend beyond decreasing your chances of dementia. A healthy lifestyle can help increase your longevity, helping you live a longer, healthier life.
How Does Exercise Affect Dementia?
There is strong evidence that points to lifelong exercise greatly lowering your risk of developing dementia and dementia diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, recent studies suggest that exercising can lower your odds by up to 35%. How exactly does exercise do this? Well, researchers are still unsure.
However, it is believed that exercise improves cardiovascular and metabolic health, which are both incredibly important in regards to brain health. It may also reduce inflammation and cholesterol, promoting the generation of new neurons, and increasing beneficial growth factors. Unfortunately, it is unclear whether or not exercise will slow cognitive decline in those who have already been diagnosed with dementia. Pairing exercise, a healthy diet, and dementia prevention supplements can help you greatly reduce your odds.
Supplements Can Help
One substance that can help prevent cognitive dissonance, as well as other aging side-effects, is spermidine. This is because spermidine helps induce something called autophagy. This is the body’s process of replacing old and potentially damaged cell parts with newer, healthier ones, resulting in healthier cells. Autophagy literally means ‘self-eat.’
This process helps keep you feeling and looking young while also dramatically lowering your chances of developing aging diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. While it is possible to get your recommended daily intake of spermidine through your diet, it’s recommended to take supplements so you ensure you get the right dose. Simply taking your supplements with your dinner is a great way to remember to take spermidine supplements every night.